Your Questions Answered
What does the acronym ‘ISA’ stand for?
The Independent Safeguarding Authority.
Who runs the ISA?
The ISA is a Non-Departmental Public Body set up by the Home Office to provide a new vetting and barring service for those working with children and vulnerable adults. The ISA is independent of government and run by Civil Servants.
What will the ISA do?
The ISA will assess relevant information on individual applicants and, where they believe this indicates that the individual poses a risk, bar them from working in regular activity with children and/or vulnerable adults. However, it is important to understand that in carrying out this function the ISA will not be barring every single individual with any kind of criminal conviction or based on other information known about them. Only those who pose an obvious risk will be barred. To gain a full picture of an individual’s records employers will need to obtain a CRB check.
Does the ISA cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
No. The ISA only covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland – Scotland has its own equivalent Scheme.
When will the ISA Scheme Launch?
12 October 2009
What has caused the delay?
This scheme – like any that aims to safeguard children or vulnerable adults – is still a very high priority with the Government. The launch date ensures that a full and robust testing regime can be followed s that the scheme will work properly from one day one of operation. Whilst it is important to ensure that the new scheme is brought as quickly as possible it is also vital to ensure that it can deal with the demand that it will create. The new launch dares takes this factor into account.
Will I need to have all my staff and volunteers who are working with the children and vulnerable adult registered with the ISA by the 12 October 2009?
No. The requirements to be registered with the ISA will be phased in over 5 years. No further details are available from the ISA at this stage.
Will it be illegal to employ someone who is not registered with the ISA?
Yes eventually, but organisations will be given up to 5 years to ensure all current employees and volunteers are ISA-registered.
How much will it cost for an individual to register with ISA?
While the CRB currently charge £36.00 for an Enhanced level CRB check, this will increase to £64.00 to include the Vetting and Barring Scheme. CBS currently charge an administration fee per application, with no registration or monthly fees. CBS are still considering how best to arrange a pricing structure for this service, however, as always CBS will clearly disclose all costs to clients and ensure that best price is matched with best practice.
Will volunteers have to pay the ISA registration fee?
No. Only the administration costs will be paid to CBS.
How can an employer check if someone is ISA-registered?
Using their registration status with CBS, there are two ways to carry out an ISA check - both require the consent of the individual.
1: Online: This will confirm whether or not the person is registered with the ISA
2: Enhanced CRB check: This will provide more information that the online check as it will reveal a person’s full criminal record, any other relevant information and the ISA registration status. If the person is barred it will also provide the reason(s) for that bar.
What happens if someone who is ISA-registered commits a serious offence and as a result becomes barred?
The individual’s ISA registration will cease.
An online ISA check will reveal that the individual is not ISA registered.
An Enhanced CRB check will reveal that the person is barred and the reason for that bar.
Will the ISA notify the employer that the individual’s ISA status has changed?
The ISA will notify all organisations who have registered an interest in the persons ISA registration status. In every case CBS will have registered an interest, therefore, all employers will be notified directly by CBS.
Does the ISA replace the Criminal Records Bureau?
No. The ISA is a new service that will enhance the current service to employers provided by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
Does ISA replace the 3 current government lists of those banned from working with children and the vulnerable? (POCA, POVA and List 99)
Yes. The ISA will maintain two registers, one for the children and one for the vulnerable adult workforce.
What is the difference between the service offered by the ISA and the CRB?
The ISA will prevent the most unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults by making it a legal requirement for everyone who is working with children or the vulnerable to be registered with the ISA. The CRB will continue to support employers by providing them with access to an individual’s full criminal record and other information so that they can assess the individual’s suitability for the particular post or position.
Does an ISA check replace a CRB check?
No. An ISA check will reveal if the person his registered and able to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.
A CRB check will reveal if the person has a criminal record or if any relevant non-conviction information.
A person could be registered with the ISA but still have a criminal record that if known by the employer would make the person unsuitable to do a particular job.
Will I still need to carry out CRB checks?
For those individuals registered with the ISA scheme, further Enhanced CRB checks will be at the employer’s discretion and organisations may still wish to apply for CRB Enhanced Disclosures to obtain and individual’s full criminal record. However, where there is a legal requirement to check or they are required by a regulatory body such as OFSTED, it is envisaged that existing statutory requirements for CRB Enhanced Disclosures will still apply. Please contact the relevant organisation(s) for more information.
How will individuals apply to register with the ISA?
Individuals in England and Wales will apply to the CRB, through one of its Registered Bodies, for registration with the ISA.
Individuals in Northern Ireland will apply through AccessNI.
Does this mean there will be a new CRB form?
Yes. You will be able to apply for ISA registration and a CRB check (including an ISA check) on the same form
When will the new application form be available?
The new application form will be available to customers in plenty of time for the launch of the ISA Scheme. This will provide customers time to train their staff and make any changes to their own system and procedures.
Will the criteria for Standard and Enhanced CRB checks need to change as a result of the ISA scheme?
Yes. If you currently apply for a standard CRB check on those working with children and/or vulnerable adults you will in future be entitled to an Enhanced CRB check.
An Enhanced CRB check will continue to be available to individuals who are not required to register with the ISA, for example those working within the Gambling Commission.
A Standard CRB check will be for all other positions covered by the Exceptions Order 1975 to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 for example positions within the Security Industry and Finance Services.
Will the CRB be able to cope with the massive increase in demand for the new ISA checks?
Yes. The CRB has been fully involved in all discussions as a key partner and a stakeholder for the development of the ISA scheme. The CRB will be fully equipped and ready to administer the checks needed for the rollout of ISA registration.
Where can I go to get more information?
CBS will keep all clients informed updated with developments.
In the meantime, for information about the ISA and its new service please visit the ISA’s website www.isa-gov.org.uk or call CBS on 01443 799900.
Launch – 12 October 2009
From 12 October 2009, there will be some small changes to the way that you apply for CRB checks. This is the first phase of VBS and will provide increased safeguards that will further enhance the protection of children and vulnerable adults. The next phase, which will allow individuals to start, applying for ISA-registration, will be introduced next year on 26th July 2010.
So what exactly will change on 12 October?
So what do the changes on 12 October mean for you?
- The three current barred lists (POCA, POVA and List 99) will be replaced by two new barred lists administered by the ISA, the ‘Children’s List’ and the ‘Vulnerable Adult’ List.
- Employers, social services and professional regulators will have a duty to refer information about individuals who may pose a risk to children and vulnerable adults to the ISA. This will ensure that any potential threats to vulnerable groups can be identified and dealt with effectively.
- There will be criminal penalties introduced for barred individuals who seek to undertake work with vulnerable groups and for any employers who knowingly take them on.
- The eligibility for Enhanced CRB checks will be extended to include anyone working in a regulated activity with a Regulated Activity Provider.
- The current POVAFirst service will be renamed ‘ISA Adult First’ service to reflect the replacement of the POVA list.
Standard CRB checks
- You can continue to use the current CRB application form. There will be a new CRB application form from July 2010 which will incorporate applications for ISA-registration.
- Standard CRB checks will no longer be available for those working with children or vulnerable adults. From this date, a Standard CRB check, will only reveal information held on PNC and will no longer reveal information from the three current lists or the new barred lists.
- Anyone who applies to work in a regulated activity under the new eligibility criteria should apply for an Enhanced CRB check.
- If you request a check of the barred lists with an Enhanced CRB, the Enhanced certificate will show the results of a check of the two new barred lists.
- POVAFirst will change its name to the ‘ISA Adult First’ service, but it will offer you the same service as before.
As mentioned before, from 12 October, there will be changes to Standard CRB checks. Standard CRB check will no longer be available for those working with children or vulnerable adults. A standard check will only reveal information held on the PNC and will no longer provide information from the Government lists – POCA, POVA, LIST 99.
If you still need a check of the current lists with a standard CRB check, you will need to submit these applications no later than 2 October 2009, to give the CRB the opportunity to process them in time. Any checks that are not fully processed by 12 October 2009 will not include any information from the old or new barred lists you may have to submit a further application for an Enhanced check and pay the additional fee processing that application.
Any application received for a Standard CRB check requesting a check of the current barred lists received on or after the 12 October 2009 will be returned to the Countersignatory, unprocessed. A new application for an Enhanced CRB check would need to be submitted if the applicant is entitled to a check against the new lists under the new extended eligibility criteria.
Enhanced CRB checks
So, how will you be able to determine if an activity is considered as regulated activity under the extended criteria and therefore if the applicant is eligible for an Enhanced CRB check?
The following diagram illustrates the principals of regulated activity and considerations that a customer should asses in relation to the post applied for: ????
Involve contact with children or vulnerable adults are:
- Also covers Fostering and ‘Defined Office Holders’ e.g Directors of Children’s Services, Trustees of children’s charities, School Governors.
- No distinction made between paid and voluntary work
You can find more information in the VBS Guidance which will be available to view or download from the CRB website shortly. A section of the guidance ‘Coverage of the Scheme’ explains which people, settings and activities are covered scheme. It also provides details and examples of those activities that are regulated and controlled.
Sector specific guidance is currently being devised and will be available very soon. The guidance will provide specific examples within each customer sector of which roles are and are not considered to be regulated activity.
We hope that the following FAQs will assist you further. They are also available on the CRB website www.crb.gov.uk
Questions and Answers
Launch of the Vetting & Barring Scheme, October 2009
What is the Vetting and Barring Scheme and why was it set up?
The vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) was established as a result of the Bichard Report following the enquiry into the Soham Murders; it recommended that all those who work with vulnerable groups should be registered. The scheme is designed to ensure that anyone who presents a known risk to vulnerable groups is quite simply prevented from working with them. For further information on the scheme, you should contact the VBS call centre on 0300 123 1111.
How will the new Vetting and Barring scheme work?
Once an individual is registered with the independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), individuals will be continuously monitored and any new criminal or other relevant information will be sent to the ISA for consideration. Employers will be able to check online for free whether an individual is registered with the scheme and subscribe to receive updates if that individual’s registration status change. For further information on the scheme, you should contact the VBS call centre on 0300 123 1111.
How does the person apply to join the VBS?
The individual must make an application for ISA-registration through the CRB.
Who can I call about the Vetting and Barring Scheme if I have a question?
You can call 0300 123 1111. Operators staffing this Lo-call service will be available to deal with your queries Monday to Friday between 8am and 5.30pm.
Will I need to start registering all my staff and volunteers who are working with children and vulnerable adults with the ISA from 12 October 2009?
No, registration with the scheme will only commence on 26 July 2010 for new starters of those moving jobs. For those already employed there will be a phased rollout programme over the next five years for them to become ISA-registered.
Will the criteria for Standard CRB checks change as from 12 October 2009?
Yes, from 12 October 2009, if you are currently entitled to apply for a Standard CRB for working with children and/or vulnerable adults, you should in future apply for an Enhanced CRB check.
A Standard CRB check will continue to be available for all other positions covered by the Exceptions Order 1975 to the Rehabilitation of offenders Act 1974, for example, positions within the security industry and financial services.
What is the new criteria for an Enhanced CRB check from 12 October?
The eligibility for an Enhanced CRB check will be extended to include anyone working in regulated activity with a Regulated Activity Provider as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Act (SVGA). A list of those activities will be published well in time for 12 October. You will also be provided comprehensive VBS guidance and sector specific guidance well in time for the launch.
Will there be changes to the way I apply for a CRB check from 12 October 2009?
No, the only changes are that a Standard CRB check will no longer include a check of the current lists and if you are applying to work with children or vulnerable adults, you will need to apply for an Enhanced check. If you are entitled to check the new ISA ‘Children’s’ or ‘Vulnerable Adults’ barred lists, you must apply for an Enhanced CRB check.
What happens if the CRB has not completed my Standard CRB application by 12 October 2009?
If you have submitted an application for a Standard CRB check and requested a check of the POCA, POVA and List 99 lists and the application is not fully processed before 12 October, then the check will only reveal information from the Police National Computer.
You would therefore be required to submit another application form for an Enhanced CRB check to obtain a check of the new lists and the fee would be payable. It is for this purpose that we recommend that should you wish to have a check of the current lists on a standard application that you submit them no later than 2 October 2009 to ensure that the CRB has an opportunity to process them in time.
What happens if the CRB has not completed my Standard CRB application by 12 October 2009?
The CRB certificate will display the result of the new searches of the new barred lists instead of POCA, POVA and List 99 lists where the relevant boxes were ticked on the form.
Why is there still a List 99 box on my Enhanced CRB certificate if the list has been replaced?
The list 99 box will remain on the CRB certificate until the ISA have migrated all the relevant records to the new barred lists.
Are there any changes to the cost of a Standard or Enhanced CRB check from 12 October?
The cost of a standard CRB check will be reduced from £31 to £26 from 1 October 2009, the cost of an Enhanced CRB check will remain at £36. There are no further changes to the cost of either check form 12 October.
What happens if I submit a Standard application requesting a check of the current lists after 12 October?
Any applications for Standard CRB checks requesting a check of the current lists received on or after the 12 October will be returned to the countersignatory unprocessed. This may mean you having to submit a new Enhanced application if you still require a check of he lists and the additional fee for the new check would be payable.
Is the CRB introducing a new application form from 12 October 2009?
No, you can use the existing application form up to 20 July 2010. From 28 June 2010, you will be able to apply for ISA registration and/or CRB checks on the new application form but applications received on or after 28 June 20120 will not be processed earlier than 26 July 2010. Further information surrounding the dates using the new form will be available in guidance and from the CRB’s website.
When can I see the new application form?
A ‘specimen copy’ of the new CRB application form will be issued to all Lead and Countersignatories in January 2010, six months prior to the launch of the full VBS service. This will give customers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the form and facilitate any training required around the form.
Will there be guidance on how to complete the new application form?
Yes, at the same time that a specimen of the form is issued to all Lead and Countersignatories in January 2010, a guidance DVD for both applicants and Registered Bodies on how to complete the application form will be made available.
When can I have a stock of the new application form?
A stock of new application forms which should last around three months will be issued to all Registered Bodies in April 2010.
What will happen to the POVAFirst service on 12 October 2009?
The current POVA list will no longer be available and whilst the service remains the same, its name will need to be changed to reflect the new ISA Adult Barred list. The new name from 12 October will be ISA Adult First.
If I am now eligible for an Enhanced CRB check for somebody who will be working in a regulated activity, does this mean that I can use the ‘ISA Adult First’ Service?
The extension to the eligibility criteria may mean that you have roles that are now entitled to an Enhanced CRB check but you still must satisfy the condition for ‘ISA Adult First’ checks that this service is only available in the exceptional circumstances when there is a real danger that your staffing levels will fall below statutory obligations.
INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING AUTHORITY (ISA)
What is the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)?
The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is a non-departmental public body (NDPB), Sponsored by the Home Office.
What does the ISA do?
The ISA will decide who, based on a structured decision making process, will be prevented, or barred, from working with children and/or vulnerable adults. It will base its decisions on relevant information brought from the police sources, regulated bodies and information referred to it from a range of other organisations and individuals.
Does the ISA cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
No, the ISA only covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own equivalent of the ISA.
Application Process for ISA-registration
When can an individual apply to become ISA-registration?
From 26 July 2010 for new starters or those moving jobs. For those already employed there will be a phased rollout programme over the next five years for them to become ISA-registered.
How does an individual become ISA-registered?
The individual will apply ion a very similar way to that of applying for a CRB check, through one of the organisations registered with the CRB.
How long will it take to become ISA-registered?
The CRB is working to a standard whereby applicants, in England and Wales, for ISA-registered will become registered within seven working days. Where applicants have a relevant conviction, caution, warning or reprimand, the CRB will send the information to the ISA who will then take a closer look at the applicant and the appropriates for them to work with vulnerable groups.
How much will it cost for an individual to be ISA-registered?
£64.00 in England and Wales and £58 in Northern Ireland.
Will volunteers have to pay the ISA registration fee?
No, not if they only work as unpaid volunteers. But if they also work in paid employment in a regulated activity or at some subsequent point they take up paid employment in a regulated activity, the fee would be payable at that stage.
ISA – REGISTRATION – WHAT IT MEANS
What does being ‘ISA-registered’ mean?
ISA-registered does not mean:
- No information is known to the ISA that demonstrates that the person poses a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults.
- A person’s registration status is continuously monitored and if any new information such as a relevant caution or conviction, or information from employers comes to light, the ISA is informed. They will re-assess the person’s potential risk to vulnerable groups and decide whether or not it is appropriate to permit continuing registration.
The individual has no criminal record.
What is the difference between ISA-registered and a CRB check?
The ISA will take decisions to prevent unsuitable people from working in regulated activity, whereas a CRB check provides access to an individual’s full criminal record so that they can assess the individual’s suitability for the particular post or position.
Does ISA-registration replace the need for CRB checks?
No, the ISA will prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. The CRB will continue to support employers by providing them with access to an individual’s full criminal record and other information so that they can asses that individual’s suitability for a particular post or position.
Is a person’s ISA-registration transferable (i.e. to another employer)?
Yes, ISA-registration involves a one-off application fee and will apply to any future setting where the person is working with children, or vulnerable adults, as appropriate.
When the CRB becomes aware of new relevant information about ISA-registered individual, it will inform the ISA. The ISA will then consider whether the person should be barred, and if they are barred they will lose their ISA-registration.
Assuming their employer has registered an interest in that person’s ISA registration status, the ISA will advise them that this person is no longer ISA registered.
How long will a barring decision take?
Where an individual has been referred to the ISA due to harming; causing harm; putting at risk of harm; attempting to harm; or inciting another to harm a child or vulnerable adult, the ISA will consider all available relevant information in deciding if it is appropriate to add that person to one or both of the barred lists.
This process will include requesting relevant information from other organisations including for example, employers, police and local authorities. The individual referred will also be given the opportunity to present representations.
Individuals have the right to make representation as to why they believe they should not be barred and this information – which could necessitate the ISA requesting further details – needs to be considered prior to the ISA making its final decision.
The ISA understand this can be a difficult time for all involved, and endeavour to complete all referrals as soon as possible. The ISA’s key function is to protect children and vulnerable adults. This process may take time; but it is important that ALL relevant information is available before a decision can be made.
What will happen if employers do not check if staff are ISA-registered?
A regulated activity provider or personnel supplier will be committing an offence if they fail to check if an individual is ISA-registered and allow them to engage in regulated activity.
It will be a legal requirement for those working in regulated activity positions to be ISA-registered in November 2010.
For further information on the Independent Safeguarding Authority, please contact the VBS call centre on 0300 123 1111 or visit ISA website www.isa-gov.org.uk